I Did Not

There was no light in the church.  The sun had set and the lights had been turned off, leaving an eery look.  Slowly, the congregation lit up, candle by candle, until the whole crowd of people were glowing.  The flickering light cast shadows on the walls and the faces of strangers.

Packed shoulder to shoulder they stood, clad in black, surrounding a thick dark box.  My friend stood by its side, clinging to it, her knuckles white.  Her mom stood behind her, one hand on her back and the other beside her hand on the box.  I stood beside them quietly, looking around at the people I hardly recognized  Strangers – they were strangers to me.

I peered up at Mrs. Deirdre again, her hand still on her daughter’s back.  A tear trickled down her cheek and over the corner of her lip, shining in the glow of the candles.

I looked at my dad standing behind me, his face hard yet sad.  My mom cried as well.  I glanced at the face of a stranger to my left, a tear also on his cheek.  There wasn’t one on mine.

I looked at the long box again quizzically.  It wasn’t there the last service on Sunday. Where did it come from?  I leaned in closer but I couldn’t look inside, the top of my head barely clearing the edge.  My brother stood in front of me and stared down at the box.  He also cried.  I did not.

Painfully Beautiful

Stairway

I can hear them sing as I walk down the corridor in the congregation hall beside them. Their voices resonate through the cathedral.  I reach the door leading to the flight of stairs descending into the entrance of the cathedral.  Their voices become louder.  I sit down on the red carpeted stairs, my head resting against the railing.  I listen.  Afternoon light pours in through the stained glass windows giving the room a warm glow.  Their voices soar and then soften like waves.  The words they sing  – a painfully beautiful poem:

“Warm summer sun,
shine brightly here,
Warm Southern wind,
blow softly here,
Green sod above,
lie light, lie light,
Good night, dear heart;
good night, good night.”

On the Water

Fog

It was a freezing cold morning.  The air was damp and cold, the sky a drowsy gray.  My oversized rubber boots rubbed against each other and squeaked as I followed behind my uncle along the dock.  The dock lurched and rocked as small waves came up and pushed against its side.  I looked down between the cracks in the dock and watched the waves dissipate underneath.  I walked unsteadily, wary of the creaking boards.  Catching up with my uncle, I grabbed hold of his hand to steady myself as we walked to his boat.  His little skiff was tied near the end of the dock, calmly bobbing up and down with the waves.

The wind had begun to pick up, whipping my hair into my face.  Stepping into the boat, my uncle turned around and lifted me in beside him.  We hadn’t exchanged any words since we had arrived at the bay.  He zipped up my coat all the way to my chin and pinched my nose.  His hands were huge and rough.  Untying the boat he started up the motor and pushed off from the dock.

The icy morning was enveloped in fog, the morning sun glowing ever so slightly through it, a pale orange.  The boat got faster and faster, spraying water to the side and bumping up and down on the waves.  I leaned over to the side of the boat and dipped my hand in, cutting the water as we raced past.

As a coastline appeared inch by inch my uncle slowed the boat.  We neared the beach and fog gave way to tall dark trees looming above and a grassy sand mounds.  He beached the boat and I hopped out, looking back at where we had come from, no longer visible through the fog.

Melting Memories

Memories do fade,

Like seasons in their due course.

Clear images as they were

Fade like flowers,

Losing their bright colors,

To weather and age.

To weather and age

Do leaves lose their soft touch

Like the loss of color

To memories of old.

To memories of old,

Like autumn to flowers,

Time tears their soft petals and pushes them

Back to the corner of our minds.  

And as snow to gardens and dewy lawns,

New memories cover up the old.  

New memories cover up the old,

But in time a few old memories

Spring from murky depths,

Like snowdrop flowers in April rain.  

Like snowdrop flowers in April rain,

From those murky depths of old,

Random memories of small,

Un-notable expanses of time,

With bursts of laughter or sorrow,

Fade to unclear motions, easily mistaken for dreams.

Written my eighth grade year as a poetry assignment

Je ne sais pas pourquoi, la deuxième

Je ne sais pas pourquoi, mais j’adore…

I do not know why, but I love..

The word pockets; brand new pencils; thick mugs; saying the word “buckles”; laughing; dead trees; old floorboards creaking under my feet; tree stumps; the steam coming off of a a hot cup of tea; the sound of paper rustling; brick buildings; a clock ticking; erasing a white board; the sound of cutting fabric against a table; ivy; giving high-fives; opening mail; and so much more.

“A young man was talking today about the misadventures of a college freshman, being one that he is, and without even beginning the first semester, nothing has gone as planned.  His dream college has become something much less desirable.  In simpler terms, he was frustrated – upset, aggravated, annoyed, grieved – so many words to describe him in that particular moment.  And in that moment, a small mind-wrenching thought hit me, well more like punched me..repeatedly.  

I sit here in my bed, still wrestling with these thoughts, with less than a minute left till midnight. And my thoughts go as follows:

If he is not happy doing what he is doing, why is he doing it at all? 

Aren’t we supposed to be happy?”

An excerpt from one of my numerous notebooks, written my freshman year of highschool.

Samantha

Some days I half expected to walk into the living room and find her sitting there like she always did, her blonde hair all messy, paper and pencils everywhere.  She used to always forget one in her hair and leave it there all day.

Or I would expect to walk into the kitchen and find her standing in the midst of a mess by the stove cooking goodness knows what.  Somehow it always ended up tasting alright.

Two Small Men

Music

The afternoon was just beginning to transition to evening, giving the sky a beautiful dusty blue color.  People mingled about the plaza next to Le Musée d’Orsay.  As I left the museum hall I could hear the faint sound of a piano playing nearby.  Sure enough as I reached the end of the plaza as it descended into the street, two small men sat on a piano bench and were jazzing out some good old ragtime.

Je ne sais pas pourquoi

Je ne sais pas pourquoi, mais j’adore…

I do not know why, but I love..

Clean white paper, untouched without a wrinkle; old typewriters; wind so fierce it shakes my old house making the beams creak and sway; rain; the soft sound of a thrumming dryer; used tubes of paint all crinkled and messy; the indescribable sound bike tires make on wet pavement; the sound of a book spine being cracked; shadows creeping up my bedroom wall; the busy sound of the road that passes by my house; stars; old photographs; the sound of saying the words “paper and pencils”; the sound of a fan; old cracked sidewalks; curtains; clean sheets; sunlight; and so much more.

 

Raison D’être

I write because I know I’m not going to be here for very long.  I know that years after I have gone, my life will disappear as did many other lives before me.  I write because in the limited time I have, with every fiber of my being I want to inspire people.  I want to have done something that will live on in somebody’s heart and be remembered.  I write because maybe I’ll touch somebody, even if it’s long after I’ve gone.

Everybody has different reasons.  There is mine, strange yet cliché as it is.

Evening Thoughts

I hated writing growing up as a student with such a strong passion.  I had never been more frustrated than I was in writing class and yet I had such a deep love for it.  Now I sit on my bed in my pajamas and wonder what writing even means to me.  I barely actually ever publish a post, even though I have stacks of notebooks filled with material.  I don’t even know why I really have this blog.

 

Sister’s Presence

She stroked the baby’s head.

With her tiny fingers, she played with his even tinier ones.

She leaned down into his wooden cradle, her hair just meeting the mattress as

She lightly kissed his forehead.

 

Straightening back up, she smiled and

Pulled the blanket back over his small body.

She stood there watching his sweet face as

She stroked the baby’s head.

 

As if he knew of his sister’s presence,

His little sparkling blue eyes opened and looked back at her.

He grasped his tiny hands at the air and

With her tiny fingers, she played with his even tinier ones.

 

Grabbing tight to her fingers he thrust them into his mouth.

Her smile grew even larger.

Reaching her nose to his round belly

She leaned down into his wooden cradle, her hair just meeting the mattress.

 

He stretched and giggled as she tickled his tummy.

He wriggled about and grabbed at the air till he found something to pull at:

Her hair.  She laughed and for one last time,

She lightly kissed his forehead.

 

Longing

Sleep

The fragility of a life returned to sleep.

An angel whispers in your ear.

Time to leave behind the people you can’t keep.

The fragility of a life returned to sleep.

A guarded peaceful sleep, so deep.

“Come with me” the angel says “do not fear”.

The fragility of a life returned to sleep.

A gift of rest and eternal peace.

I Was a Strange Little Girl

“Because to be able to live with the boys, you must be able to yell above them…To be heard, you must speak louder.”

 

I’m not sure what other little girls dreamed about, but I’m pretty sure my dreams were different.  I used to dream about being like the little boy from Bridge to Terabithia and fantasize about what Terabithia was like.  I dreamed about being a tomboy and I dreamed about the looks I desired from the boys – looks of awe as they would watch me perform incredible feats.  I would dream of looking like one of the boys, strong and stupidly arrogant.

But I had such a girly side, too.  I imagined myself as a princess.  Clad in jeans and my older brother’s shirts, I still managed to come off as a young lady.  I would never fit in with the boys.

My idols were George Washington the founder of our country, and Corrie Ten Boom, Joan of Arc and Anne Frank, three of the most empowering and brave women in history.  I didn’t need princesses.  I didn’t want a knight in shining armor.  I was the hero in my own stories.

 

Can’t I Have More than 1 Dream?

I want to go to Paris with only a sketchbook under my arm, some paints and pencils in my pocket, and a camera around my neck.  I want to sit in a little cafe and just write, until I have nothing left to say.  I want to capture the beauty that I see.  I want to show that there is still so much beauty left in this broken world, and that it should be celebrated, not destroyed.  Such a noble profession it is to capture what isn’t captured enough.  But instead of poverty and destruction, I want to capture the beauty that still needs to be shared.

I want to compose a piece and have it played.  I want people to hear it and gasp.  I want it to stand out and make them think.

I want to write something worth reading.  I want to write something people will talk about, something controversial that will express the questions I have, in hopes other people can help me answer them.

I want to inspire other people.

And once I’m done traveling the world, I want to settle down with a family of my own and teach them all that I’ve learned.

 

Army Men

My brother looked up at me.

I nodded.

We stood where the ocean met

With the beach.

Waves washed up

Against our feet,

Seafoam brushing our ankles.

We made the plunge

Together.

Our arms linked, we took

A big stride.

We stomped through the waves

Until the water

Reached our waists.  

The waves crashed

Against us,

But we stood strong.

We beat the waves. We stood

Our ground,

Like army men, we stayed.

Like army men, we stayed.

We beat

The crashing waves.  

We stood

And screamed and laughed.

We kept

our ground, or at least we tried.  

The waves

Grew higher with greater

force.

The wind grew

fiercer.

And one army man

fell.

A shocking cold,

like

An icy knife

Stabbed me. It

Pierced

My skin. One army man fell.

I surfaced from the

Cold depths,

The waves still trying to push

Me down,

But army men never leave a

Man behind.  

His arm stretched out,

And I pulled.

I pulled up from murky

Depths,

I choked for breath.

But I stood,

Strong, once again.

Because

I was an Army man.

So we stood,

Strong once again,

Together.

Just like army men,

Together.

Introvert?

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Cringe-Worthy.”

I’m not a shy person.  Nor am I quiet.  I am a loud person with a ridiculous amount of misplaced energy.  And yet, to strangers, I come off as a very introverted, shy person.  Which, if you truly know me, is absurd.  But I guess that misguided impression comes from my fear of confrontation.  When I feel comfortable, especially around my best friends, I usually have trouble shutting up.  But around people I am unfamiliar with, I freeze.  Being assertive is not something I am good at.  I will exhaust all possibilities to avoid talking with anybody.  I will make something hard out of a simple task because of my fear and refusal to ask for help.  Most people associate somebody who refuses to ask others for help as someone with too much pride, but that is not my issue (granted I am not perfect and can be quite arrogant).  I cringe at having to expose the fact that I am completely clueless with certain things, and require assistance.  As a student, I would often times go home with no idea how to complete an assignment because I refused to ask a question.  I feared embarrassing myself in front of the whole class, more than I feared the consequences of taking home a bad grade.  Mainly, my problem lies with my elders.  Especially when I was younger, talking to anybody older than me, even older by only a few years, was enough to make me cringe.

Situated 

In a room full of people, you’d find her sitting and watching.  Watching as people laugh gaily with friends and play games.  Watching from a comfortable place that she’s situated herself in, surrounded by people she cares about.  Her hands rest in her lap.  She always fiddles with her jewelry.  Always doing something with her fingers.  She smiles.  She couldn’t be happier.  

Anywhere 

“Travelling through Paris…the sun shining, not too hot.  A pleasant breeze.”  She smiled.  “Maybe Rome.  And then Greece, followed by a deep discussion debating the differences and similarities of their culture and architecture.   A backpacking trip throughout Europe, sleeping under the stars, no tent, just us and the world.”

“And Africa.  A long trip to Africa, getting a dark tan will working with small villages, like a mission trip.  And then, off to Australia, just to see the Kangaroos.”

“And the Koalas.”  she laughed.

“And then to India.  We can ride elephants and go hiking in the deep jungles.  We would marvel at their rich culture, and..” he interrupted her.

“And breathe the clean air as we drink tropical juices.”

“And burn our noses from all that sun exposure.”  She said, smiling as she threw her pillow at his face.

“And we’d go to Scotland and dance around in funny skirts and talk like this!”  he said in a dorky, horrible Scottish accent.  He tossed the pillow back and she caught it.

“And Ireland.  We’d picnic on their rolling green hills, and drink fresh got’s milk, and sleep to the sound of them groaning nearby.”

He raised his eyebrow at her.  “Sure.”  he said.  “And don’t forget about Finland.”

“And Iceland, which is really green, and Greenland, which is really icy.”

She sat up, placing the pillow on her crisscrossed legs.  “We could go anywhere.”

“Anywhere.”  Her dad smiled.

Raining Light

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Places.”

It was pitch black outside.  From my campsite, trees that loomed high above me covered whatever light the stars and the moon would offer.  I grabbed my flashlight and my sleeping bag from my tent and walked out of my campsite.

Standing in the middle of the loop, I waited in the cold.  The sound of blankets dragging against the tarmac and faint giggling warned me of my friends’ approach.  As we had all agreed before falling asleep, we met, blankets and sleeping bags under our arms, all of us still clad in our pajamas.  Without talking, we walked.  As we reached the dock, the trees parted, giving way to the stars and the full moon that almost shone blue.  It was three a.m.

We climbed onto the dock, it’s old, creaky boards moaning under all of our weight.  We rolled our sleeping bags out. Ana broke the silence.

“There is probably spiders crawling everywhere on this dock.”  We all stopped and stared at her.

“Really, Ana?”  I said.  We all laughed.  “Spiders or no spiders, we’re not going back now”.

We all climbed into our sleeping bags and huddled together.

“I don’t see any shooting stars.  And the boards are hurting my back.  And it’s cold.”  Ana said.

“You have to be patient, Ana.”  Bailey laughed.

We talked and laughed for hours into the morning while stars shot across the sky, so many it looked like it was raining light.